Latest Entries
Theater

332: Bill Irwin

“I identify as a clown,” he says, understating his range as a performer, having portrayed George on Broadway in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf and Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street in Elmo’s World. And yet even a career as luminous as his has its disappointments: “I once asked John Cleese to play Pozzo in Waiting for Godot. Wouldn’t it have … Continue reading »

Architecture & Design

331: Rick Cook

He is a founding partner of COOKFOX Architects, known for green buildings, including the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, and the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. During our conversation he said, “Hope doesn’t disappoint.” He also said, “stinking, rotting, flaming, sliding, hell on earth.” Something for everyone, via the Center for Architecture. Continue reading »

Radio / Television

330: Mo Rocca

A regular on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!, he has a historic-homes preference: “I like the houses of the presidents that you can’t remember were actually president, the guys between Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.” And they’re a great fit for his other project, Mobituaries, what with their being, you know, dead.  Continue reading »

Music

328: Rhiannon Giddens

Does genre give music history and context or is it merely confining? “Genre is BS. I’m sorry. It just is,” says this founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and artistic director of Silkroad. The story of Black string band music — fiddles, banjos, and Jane Austen. Continue reading »

Movies / Television / Theater

326: Alec Baldwin

Admired for both comedy (30 Rock) and drama (Streetcar), he is an astute observer of other actors and once wrote a fan letter to Tom Courtenay for his work in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Courtenay replied, “How odd that you would take the time to write this to me about this film I did so long ago.” No … Continue reading »

Theater

325: Daryl Roth

She has produced more than 90 plays on and off Broadway, from The Normal Heart to Kinky Boots. Producers open shows and close shows. She enjoys the rare distinction of having unclosed a show. “I went to the theater one night,  just quietly by myself, before half-hour, and I walked over to the board where the closing notice was posted, … Continue reading »

Music

324: George Lewis

Celebrated as a performer and composer, this Columbia professor is particularly noted for his computer music that draws on artificial intelligence. So is the computer a tool for making sound or a tool for thinking? Neither. “It’s actually a tool for investigating subjectivity.” A conversation made possible by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Continue reading »

Nonfiction

323: David Sedaris

Even his setups are funny, like this: “There was a taxidermy kiwi at a store in London.” Or this: “Everybody in the family convinced the youngest child that if she was naked, she was invisible.” Funny, a bit cruel, and entirely delightful. His new book, The Best of Me, will beor perhaps has been published the … Continue reading »

Television

322: Jeff Greenfield

For decades, he has provided astute political commentary with an admirable knack for seeing contemporary events in historic perspective. During our conversation, he prudently contextualized some of his observations, “when this nightmare is over,” referring either to the coronavirus or to the current administration (circa 2020), but which one? Listen. Continue reading »